Mother 3: A Critical Analysis

Mother 3! For most people, this is a video game that remains utterly and completely unheard of. It’s a sequel of a game, Earthbound (Mother 2) for Super Nintendo, that was popular in Japan, but never received a huge following elsewhere. Nonetheless, it has a strong and devoted cult-following; now this game, Mother 3, is even more obscure, since it was never released in America at all! Yet, due to the aforementioned strong cult following, some people got together and formed an unofficial fan translation into English for this game, and made it available online. Now with an emulator, this game can be played in English. How many people have actually done that? It’s hard to say. However, it’s undeniable that there exists a sizable, hardcore internet fan base for this game, some going so far as to create their own costumes, fan art, etc.

So why, then, am I taking the time to write anything about this obscure topic? Simply this: I, too, am a fan of these games. Earthbound and Mother 3 are probably my favorite RPGs  (Role Playing Games) of all time. They stand so far out from the crowd that they almost deserve their own genre. It could be called “Whacky Sci-Fi Social Commentary RPG” (WSFSCRPG). These games are all the brainchild of the enigmatic and interesting Shigesato Itoi of Japan. Apparently he has done many things in his career, and writing these video games is only one of them. He is also a well-known personality in Japan, having been a voice actor and author of various books. I have not read anything else that Itoi has written, but the strangeness of these games is more than enough for me. Needless to say, if you haven’t played this game and you plan to, you might not want to read this whole article until afterward, since it does contain spoilers.

Mother 3 is a dark, serious (and yet also insane), satirical adventure in the guise of a kiddie game. It has so much questionable content and so many adult motifs that I seriously doubt it will ever be given an American release (yet… with the rise of such programming here as Adventure Time, aimed at young kids, I can’t rule it out). I would never suggest allowing a young child to play this game. There’s nothing “normal” about it. Throughout the game, you, the player control different characters taking part in the overall narrative.  The nature of this narrative is such that you get progressive revelation as the story continues, and with each step it gets more colossal and dark and serious than you realized it was before. As a mature adult, I can overlook the innuendo, occasional mild profanity, and other questionable content and appreciate the nature of the social commentary and philosophical ruminations that are actually being presented; but for a young child, I just wouldn’t even go there. As you can see from my website, I am a Christian, and from a Christian perspective there is a lot which can be said about this game which is positive. Yet, overall, the storyline takes on a rather inverted, quasi-satanic slant. It will be difficult to explain this, but I’ll try my best. Without actually playing the game, there’s only so much that you will really be able to grasp of how strange and deep it is. I’ll try to keep this relatively short; there is enough to say about Mother 3 that I think a book could be written on the subject. I’ll mention this one more thing, also: the game has one of the best soundtracks, in my opinion, of any video game ever. The music is extremely well-written and creative, much like the music of the predecessor game, Earthbound.

The player starts out in an idyllic setting- the primitive town of Tazmily. Yet something strange is going on. There are strange outsiders wearing Nazi-like pink military uniforms with pig masks on who are attacking the village.

pigmask

The main character is Flint, and right at the outset, tragedy strikes when his wife is killed by a giant dragon which has been mechanically-altered by the Pigmasks. Here the player gets the first dose of shocking tragedy mixed with seemingly out-of-place black humor.

hinawadead

WALK AROUND A LITTLE AND BRONSON RUNS IN. TALK TO HIM.

Bronson:

Flint….what to say…well, first of all, calm down and listen closely. I have good news and bad news. Which should I say first? Um, I guess the good news first. I got my hands on the super-huge Drago Fang. It will be the greatest weapon. I thought you could use it. The bad news is…..the bad news is….the place where I found Drago’s Fang. It was in…your…It was thrust through your wife’s heart.

FLINT FALLS TO HIS KNEES.

Bronson:

Flint, please, be strong. I’m sure that Hinawa is the reason the boys are safe. She must have sacrificed her life for theirs.

Tessie: Flint….. Ollie: Flint…

Abbot: Flint, I’m not sure what to say. I’m sorry…

FLINT BASHES HIM WITH A PIECE OF FIREWOOD. OLLIE TRIES TO GRAB IT FROM HIM BUT HE SMACKS OLLIE WITH IT AS WELL.

Abbot: Flint, not in front of your kids. What do you think you’re doing?

LIGHTER APPEARS AND KNOCKS FLINT UNCONSCIOUS WITH A 2X4. FLINT DREAMS OF HIS WIFE AND KIDS AND THEN WAKES UP IN PRISON.

[Script obtained from http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/914622-mother-3/faqs/42740%5D

Shocking for a video game (supposedly) aimed at kids, right? Yet the whole game is like this. Extremely adult situations and innuendo, and deep, dark storyline elements. What is Itoi getting at with this game? What is it really about? There are many real-world themes, extremely relevant for the modern times we live in, which are brought out during the course of this game.

One such theme is the corrupting influence technology has on society. In the game, the evil character Porky uses the infiltration of technology to destroy the simple, innocent society found in Tazmily and draw everyone out into his big, horrible New Pork City.

new pork city

It starts with the introduction of televisions (“Happy Boxes”) to the town. Suddenly everyone gets mesmerized and mind-controlled into wanting to leave the town and go to New Pork City after getting happy boxes put in their homes. Satan does this in real life. If you do some research, you will find that there are countless examples of satanic mind-poisoning going on in modern television and movies. I’m not going into it all here, but anyone has the ability to research this for themselves. Be very careful what you watch and especially what you let children watch. I’ve spoken a little about some of it before, like the song Counting Stars. In any case, be alert.

happybox

The Pigmask army is also involved with experiments combining biology with technology- animals with machines, as well as genetic engineering to create ‘chimeras’.  This type of Nazi-style research is actually going on today. People involved with the “Transhumanist” movement, like Ray Kurzweil of Google, actually think that they will be able to cheat death and attain immortality by blending man with machine. This is nothing other than satanic ideology- attempting to overcome the Curse that came from God by using high-level secret knowledge (science), as well as playing God by attempting to create new forms of life that don’t exist naturally. By “coincidence”, that also just happens to be the plot of the new Jurassic World movie.

chimera lab

The game also incorporates the concept of a more direct, powerful type of mind control (like what the researchers behind the secret government MK Ultra project have been doing for years), that seeks to turn a person into a mindless slave.  This happens to another one of the main characters, Claus, the brother of Lucas, who gets turned into a Darth-Vader style bad guy who is working for evil despite being the close relative of the main good guy. Claus wears a headset that overtakes his mind and makes him wicked.

claus

One of the most bizarre aspects of this game is the fact that it incorporates transsexual characters known as Magypsies. They are some kind of pseudo-angelic beings which exist solely to guard needles stuck into the ground (I’ll explain that next). Their presence in this game is so odd, out of place, and downright strange that I’m not sure there’s much more I can say. To quote the game’s own explanation from the script:

 
 Alec: Flint, you’re probably intrigued by the name Magypsy. I can tell by how slow your walking has become. The Magypsies have been in this land for a long time protecting something. They all have strange powers. They’re not humans and they’re not demons. They’re also not men or women. I also have no idea how old they are. So, even though I’ve explained it to you, you still know nothing. Well, in summary, they’re strange. All of them, strange. That’s what kind of things they are. However, they are really good natured.
 

magypsies

Unlike the previous elements I mentioned, this strange transgender motif is not associated with anything negative in the game; it is not the result of evil. However in the real world we know otherwise. God has created this natural order with male and female for a reason- any attempt to blur those lines is always from Satan, not God. All kinds of sexual perversion, whether it be bisexuality or homosexuality or whatever else, are abominations before God, and as cultures move further and further away from God over time, we tend to see more and more of this type of thing rising to the surface in society. That is exactly what we see today in the world. The dialogue and appearance of these characters is an obvious satire of the stereotypical homosexual cross-dresser; not something I ever could have imagined would appear in a game from Nintendo!

Towards the end of the game, the player finally is treated to a robust explanation of the backstory. It comes from another enigmatic character, Leder, who is a giant tall man who, previous to this point in the game, is only a minor presence and never speaks. He has this to say:

 tumblr_mi2tldQ16T1rw2ccmo1_4001-82

Leder: Hi. I’m the bell-ringer, Leder. You must be surprised to hear me speak. All this time it’s not that I couldn’t speak, but that I didn’t speak. Not talking to people for so many years built up inside me, so I rang the bell. But, the secret that I have been protecting has started to leak out …

Once, there was something called “the world”. It’s different from what this island’s people think of as a world. “The world” was extraordinarily big. More people lived in “the world” than all the grains of sand in Nowhere Island. I’m sure that you can’t even imagine something like that. But, “the world” once existed. …

One day, “the world” was destroyed. Of course, it was at the hands of humans. Everyone had the faintest inkling that this time might come. And come, it did. That’s why “the world” is no longer. …

A little before the end of “the world” a “white ship” arrived. All of Tazmily’s people boarded this ship. The people who boarded the “white ship” and escaped from “the world” were just a fraction of the people living there. The people who left in the “white ship” kept the names they had when they were in “the world”. Before the destruction of “the world”, the “white ship” plan was drawn up. This island, Nowhere Island, while being part of “the world”, was also a special place. This was a place that would keep on existing, even with the loss of “the world”. It was the only place to survive. The “white ship” arrived at this island.

The reason that this island was special was because of the giant dragon, which is about the same size as the island itself. Once, long ago, man and the dragon co-existed. However, all of a sudden, man and the dragon became unable to live together. And so the ancestors of the Magypsys, who have lived on the island for ages, drove the needles into the ground and made the dragon enter a long, deep sleep. The Magypsys protected the needles to make sure that no one woke the dragon before the time it’s power became necessary. Until the dragon wakes, he sleeps and gives power to the land. Thanks to the power of this dragon, buried deep underground, this island was saved from the end of “the world”. 

The people who boarded the “white ship” and came here feared nothing more than another end to their “world”. They all came to the consensus that the cause for the downfall of “the world”, was their way of living. The people from the “white ship” put their minds together and talked long and hard about the situation. Their conclusion was to erase everyone’s memory of the former “world” and with new rules and new roles, live their lives. In other words, they decided to become actors in an ideal “story”. With the simple, peaceful village, a place that they had all longed for since childhood, as the stage, they would start their lives over again. Their memories of “the world”, everything they owned, and all the rules that had surrounded them were erased, and they started over. They reset their old memories and opened the first page of the new “story”.

That is how Tazmily Village came to be. However, the fact that the memory replacement took place needed to be recorded somehow.  I still knew about everything and it was my role to be on duty and watch out. I was they only person to not get a new life in the new village of Tazmily. The bell that I rang had a suggestive power to it, and kept the people from returning to their old memories. …

Well, for not knowing anything, things went pretty smoothly. The people from the “white ship” easily took on their new personalities and they lived together in peace and harmony. The fact that everything got thrown into confusion is all the fault of Porky, who crossed space and time to come here. He has some kind of machine that is capable of freely traversing the time tunnel. However, he was shut out of all times and spaces and ended up arriving here. He is now using the time tunnel to bring people here from other times. The pig-masks and all the people in New Pork City were brainwashed by Pokey. Pokey thinks of this island as his own toy box, to do with as he pleases. He turned all the animals into freak chimeras. He built the Lightning Tower and organized an army. This childish dictator has taken over this island. Pokey learned of the “white ship” when one of the Magypsies turned traitor. 

The Magypsy that turned on his people is the only one you haven’t met yet; the guardian of the seventh needle, Locria. His friendship with Pokey led him to reveal the secrets about the “white ship” and also the sleeping dragon. Porky is planning on removing the needles, waking the dragon, and then using that power as his own. The dragon is the power of the land. The one who removes the needles is said to be the dragon’s master. However, the only ones who can remove the needles are the extremely limited humans. Even the Magypsies, who protected the needles all these years, couldn’t be of any help to Porky. Regardless of that, he began removing the needles. Porky is controlling someone and having him obtain the power of the dragon for him. We can’t allow him to go on like this any further. This world is being destroyed anew and the true end to everything is near. For Porky, this is the ultimate rush. We cannot let it come to be. We, the last few remaining humans, cannot permit this. Lucas, you were chosen to remove the needles sealing away the dragon. Remove the remaining needle and reflect the goodness of your heart in the dragon. This is my only order as leader to you…”

So, yes, that’s a lot to digest. This story is clearly pulling elements from many different sources, but I would describe it as the Biblical Timeline meets The Giver. It’s obvious that there is a strong correlation between ideas found in this story and ideas from the Bible. The “White Ship” sounds very similar to Noah’s Ark, along with the destruction of the world. But the other part of the storyline sounds a lot more like the book of Revelation.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3 ESV)

Notice the striking role-reversal here? This game’s story sounds almost exactly like the Bible, but instead of the dragon being evil, this dragon is morally neutral, and will absorb whatever nature its user imparts to it (like “the force” from Star Wars). This is typical of eastern religious thought. The Yin and the Yang. In eastern thought (and this game does come from the East) good and evil are just two sides of the same coin, eternally in combat with one another.

The picture the Bible paints is much brighter than that, though. Evil is not eternal, but will eventually be defeated and pass away. The dragon, who will be locked away for 1000 years, is none other than Satan, and will do nothing but evil. So unfortunately this game takes a Biblical concept and turns it nearly upside-down. At one point, the dragon is even prayed to as a god:

Screenshot 2014-12-03 10.26.03
I’m going to bring this to an end, though there’s plenty more that could be said about this game. I’ll leave that to someone else. I will simply say this: Mother 3 is intensely deep and entertaining, and it’s one of the best all around video games I’ve ever played. Unfortunately it’s also littered with strange and child-inappropriate content, and the overall story takes a Biblical theme and twists it upside down, cutting the one true God completely out of the picture and putting a mysterious dragon in his place. We see this in many types of art throughout the ages which do not stem from true Christian thought; the Bible’s themes are so powerful that they always wind up getting repeated in popular fiction, but with changes here and there that ultimately wind up obscuring the truth. For those with eyes to see, the deception is not hard to catch.

Test everything, and hold on to what is good. God bless!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s